Abiding (Intimacy with God Part IV)

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Dwell in Me, and I will dwell in you. [Live in Me, and I will live in you.] Just as no branch can bear fruit of itself without abiding in (being vitally united to) the vine, neither can you bear fruit unless you abide in Me.

I am the Vine; you are the branches. Whoever lives in Me and I in him bears much (abundant) fruit. However, apart from Me [cut off from vital union with Me] you can do nothing.

John 15:4-5 (Amplified Bible).

Photo credit: Pinterest

Jesus gave us the key to knowing the Father, through relationship with Him (John 14:6). He gave us the key to eternal life, repentance and faith in Him. He gave us the key to victorious life from sin, the deposit of His Holy Spirit. He also gave us the key to fruitful living, abiding in Him.

One set of my life verses are found in John 15. Intimacy with God produces fruit. The remaining, union, connection, covenant, and relationship with God produces the fruit of His likeness and divine revelation.

Have you ever noticed that best friends and especially married couples will begin to know each other so well that they can finish the other’s sentences or they begin to act in similar ways.

Intimacy (abiding) produces oneness.

God created every human being with the desire to be known and unconditionally loved. He created humans to require intimacy. He’s the only One who can fulfill this need without any flaws, perversion, or creating codependency.

When we are disconnected (not abiding) in God we are relying on our own strength, power, intellect, wisdom, and resources. Or we are relying on someone else’s. Both will fail. Human wisdom is not perfect. Humans are not perfect-infallible. According to Romans 3:23 all (but Jesus) have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory.

I’ve heard many people state Christians don’t behave like Jesus. Is this because they aren’t saved? I can say the following.

Sanctification (becoming like Jesus) is a process. The Holy Spirit works in us to reveal righteousness, the person of Jesus, to teach, equip, comfort, love, and empower. It’s a journey. Just as a baby learns and grows over time, so do we. Spiritual growth is a process. We learn. We make mistakes. We grow. We rely on God’s grace, mercy, and forgiveness.

Christlikeness or bearing fruit results from connection to God. His Holy Spirit produces fruit. If you don’t have the Holy Spirit, there’s no Source to draw from. If you do have the Holy Spirit, you have the ability to quench or grieve Him (1 Thessalonians 5:19 and Ephesians 4:30).

God is in control in the sense nothing happens without Him knowing. He’s Sovereign. God did not make humans robots. He will not force us to obey Him, spend time with Him, love Him, love others, do what’s right, or anything else. We can say no to God. Adam and Eve are prime examples of our ability to choose what’s wrong. We can be believers who choose to sin. Yet those who choose to live independent of Him will face consequences for their actions.

Abiding is about relationship. Jesus repeated Himself: Abide in Me! Remain in Me! Stay connected to Me! We cannot abide or remain in someone we do not talk to unless it’s Sunday morning, or in times of trouble, or when we need something.

Relationships are built on quality time, communication, mutual investment, love, commitment, appreciation, and with God (doing what He asks). He said our love for Him is manifested through obedience.

Note: Many have used the word legalism to promote lawlessness. Legalism is trying to obtain righteousness or God’s love through rule keeping. Obedience to God is an act of love. We don’t obey to gain favor, love, or righteousness. Righteousness comes by faith. Favor and love are gifts from God. Obedience is a fruit of our love for Him.

So how do we abide?

1. Salvation. If you are not saved (in relationship with God through repentance and faith) you cannot abide in Him. No one comes to the Father unless they come through the Son.

2. Make God the highest priority. This doesn’t necessarily mean lock yourself on a room with a Bible 24/7. It means God is invited to be the central focus of life.

3. Cultivate relationship. Think of God as the closest family member. Talk to Him. Listen. Spend time with Him. Get to know Him. Rely on Him. Be with Him. Thank Him. Focus on Him. Worship (love, adore) Him. Ask Him to deepen your awareness of His Presence. Meditate on His word and goodness. Invite the Holy Spirit to help you.

I’m a list person, yet my relationship with God isn’t a formula. He’s my best friend. I wake up thinking about Him. I spend the day talking and listening to Him. I end the day with Him. He’s the closest to me. I take time to steal away with Him. In trouble, I look to Him. In good times, I look to Him. He has my attention and focus.

Sweet friends, there’s always more with God. God invites us into the secret places of His heart. He unites us to Himself. He doesn’t need us. He wants us. The Creator of the Universe and galaxies calls us by name. He wants to know us and be with us. He doesn’t need anything. Even the angels worship around His throne. Yet He delights in our love for Him.

May we grow in intimacy with God! He loves and adores us.

You’re continually in my thoughts and prayers.

In Jesus powerful name, amen.

Love in Christ,

Erin Lamb

Image Bearers (Intimacy with God Part III)

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…you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit,~Ephesians 2:19-22.

God invites us into relationship with Him. It is a covenant relationship. His connection with us is Spirit to spirit. He imparts Himself to us in the Person of the Holy Spirit. It’s not simply a visitation with God on Sunday mornings. It’s intended to be a habitation.

What is a habitation? (Source Dictionary.com)

1. The act of inhabiting or the state of being inhabited.
2. A natural environment or locality.
3. A residence.

God abides in born again believers. The purpose of habitation is not simply to get us into heaven. It’s so we are transformed into the image of His Son, Jesus. The Holy Spirit resides in us and continually points to truth, righteousness, and reveals Jesus. Day by day, moment by moment, He’s revealing the Son and we (if we are submitted to God) are being transformed into His likeness. This is a powerful work of the Holy Spirit. We cannot strive to be like God. Our attempts will fail.

Our outward expressions will always manifest our internal reality. Just as an apple tree continues to produce apples. You can chop off the fruit, but it will continue to produce fruit.

We are called to have the fruit of God’s Spirit and be His image bearers in the earth. It brings Him glory when we act like Him, that is the truest form of who we are. Genesis 1 states in His image God created them. We were created by Him, in His image, to represent Him.

How do we become like Jesus?

1. It starts with relationship (see previous post Intimacy with God Part II). If you’re not saved, you will not become like Jesus because the Holy Spirit is not in you. Human efforts are futile.

2. We abide.

I will talk more about abiding in the next post.

Jesus stated in John 15:5, “I am the Vine and you are the branches. Those who remain in Me will bear much fruit. Apart from Me, you can do nothing.”

3. We submit.

Submission sounds horrible when we are self willed and do not understand how much God loves us.

Submission is beautiful when you realize the One you are saying yes to has your best interests at heart. God wants the best for us. So when He says, “Don’t go there. Don’t do this. This is a bad idea. You should go this way,” it’s because He can see all things and knows that the penalty for doing things sinful is death.

We do not become like Jesus by being rebellious, stubborn, disobedient, and living life our own way.

Jesus was obedient even to the cross. What if He decided He was not going to do the Father’s will? You and I would be in a bad place as He’s the atoning sacrifice for our sins.

Lastly, God didn’t just save us so we could ride off into the sunset just as broken and messed up as He found us. He saved us out of love. He restores broken things and makes them brand new. He loves us as we are, yet out of that great love-never intends to leave us the way He found us. No parent would want their adult child wearing diapers. He loves us as is, yet the Holy Spirit works in us to grow us up in love, truth, maturity, and wisdom.

Our response to that great love is submission. We are transformed into our true identity.

As we become like Him in character, we become the greatest blessing to the world. We are salt and light. We reflect Him and bring His beautiful fragrance to the world. We will not impact the world by acting like the world. Our lives are meant to be beacons of light!

We reflect the nature, character, and goodness of God. We represent Him and heaven.

I want to stay connected to God and submitted to Him so when people encounter me, they encounter Him. I desire the pure essence of Jesus to be manifest in my life, for His glory.

Will you join me on this quest to know Him intimately?

I hope so!

Praying you are overwhelmed by His goodness, grace, love, and mercy! You are deeply loved.

Love,

Erin Lamb